DOD unveils manufacturing center at MIT
The Defense Department unveiled a new manufacturing center on April 1 in partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with the aim of accelerating innovation in fibers and textiles that have defense applications.
The move is Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s latest bid to get new technology into the hands of warfighters more quickly amid worries about asymmetrical threats in cyberspace and other domains.
DOD is putting $75 million toward the new institute, while a mix of private, state and other funding sources is adding nearly $250 million to the cause. A consortium of 89 universities, manufacturers and nonprofit organizations — dubbed the Advanced Functional Fabrics of America Alliance — will participate in the initiative.
“Revolutionary fibers and textiles have enormous potential for our defense mission,” Carter said in a speech at MIT. He cited examples such as lightweight sensors that can detect tears in parachutes and uniforms with embedded electronics that can sense chemical agents.